conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Set in stone
Landscape highlights natural materials and honors homeowner’s wish for low maintenance

Photos by Westhauser Photography

May 2013

A stone retaining wall levels out the 45-degree slope of the backyard. The circular interlacing brick pattern from the front entrance is repeated on the patio, which is in view from an upper deck. "I wanted to make the patio look great from above, not just while you are on it," landscape designer James Drzewiecki says.

Tom Halquist didn’t want to be a slave to his garden, so when he hired Ginkgo Leaf Studios, Cedarburg, to renovate the landscape at his Menomonee Falls home, he made that point very clear.

"Tom, as all clients say, wanted a low-maintenance landscape," says Ginkgo’s James Drzewiecki. "We ask our clients how many hours per week they want to spend on landscaping. Tom crossed out ‘week’ and put ‘month,’" Drzewiecki says. "One hour per month."

So Drzewiecki, an architect-turned-landscape designer, got to work creating a landscape plan that was low-maintenance and a showcase for Halquist’s business, Halquist Stone in Sussex.

Drzewiecki chose natural materials, such as irregular flagstone and clay brick to play off the subtle Craftsman feel of the home. "I didn’t want to use materials that looked too contemporary or modern," he says. "I focused first on the hardscape because of his interest in stone."

Drzewiecki created a more impressive front walk that includes a circular landing surrounded by ornamental grasses saved from the previous landscape. "That gave the landscape a more mature patina," Drzewiecki says of reusing the plants.

Drought-tolerant perennials provide continuous and colorful blooms from spring through fall, with some, such as the Japanese lilac tree’s shiny coppery bark, providing winter interest, too. Yet the thoughtful plan that integrates architecture and nature does not require constant upkeep. "This is pretty much a leave-it-alone landscape," Drzewiecki says.

Planting colorful perennials in the front of the house is one of the signature elements of a Ginkgo Leaf Studios design, landscape designer James Drzewiecki says. Drzewiecki created the landscape plan for the former MBA Parade of Homes house in Menomonee Falls, and Stone Oak Landscapes completed the installation.

Continuous blooms from allium, an ornamental onion, red daylillies and other perennials line the walkway to the home’s entrance. "Allium is a relative of the chive," Drzewiecki says. "They look great when the foliage first comes out and are stunning in full flower. As the flowers fade, they turn a nice tan color and look good right into fall."

The pattern of the irregular flagstone and clay brick walkway showcases Halquist Stone products and plays off the home’s architecture. "When I thought of Craftsman Style, I immediately thought of stained-glass windows," Drzewiecki says. "(That) inspired the front walk. I was trying to avoid one long line of concrete." 



This story ran in the May 2013 issue of: